West Long Branch, N.J. (April 26, 2013) -- A furious second-half comeback fell just short as the fourth-seeded Mount women's lacrosse team dropped a 12-9 decision to top-seeded Monmouth in the Northeast Conference Semifinals on Friday at Kessler Field. The Mount scored the final seven goals to cut the deficit to three with 1:25 left in the game, but it was not enough as Monmouth moves onto Sunday's Championship Game and the Mount's season comes to a close.
The Hawks built an 8-2 halftime lead then scored four goals in the first 5:02 of the second half for a 12-2 advantage. The Mount's defense clamped down and did not allow a goal in the final 24:57 of the contest and scored seven in a row to get back in the game.
Monmouth got on the board first on Marial Pierce's strike from the left side 1:29 into the game for a 1-0 lead. Less than two minutes later, Cassie Campasano scored the first of her three goals to make it 2-0 in favor of the home side.
The Hawks then stretched their lead to 4-0 on back-to-back goals off the stick of Karlee Dean on assists by Kaleigh Gibbons at the 27:20 and 26:25 marks in the first half.
The Mount broke through the Hawks' defense when Diaz scored the team's first goal of the game on a free position goal placed in the upper lefthand corner to cut the Mount's deficit to 4-1 with 22:26 remaining before halftime.
Gibbons, the NEC Offensive player of the Year, scored three goals, including two within 16 seconds of each other to give the Hawks a 6-1 edge with 13:21 on the first half clock. The Monmouth lead became 7-1 when MU's Allison Stathius shot a free position past Mount goalkeeper Sarah Jane Leder. Leder made nine saves on the day and earned All-Tournament recognition along with Larrimore.
In the final minute of the half, Molly Morris drove past two Monmouth defenders and fired a close-range shot past MU goalkeeper Katie Donohoe with 47 seconds remaining in the half before Gibbons answered with 13 second to go on a drive to the middle to convert her first half hat trick.
The Hawks held a 10-1 advantage in draw controls in the first 30 minutes and held a 17-5 shot advantage heading into halftime.
The Mount's struggles continued early in the second half when Campasano scored 35 seconds in. The Hawks won the ensuing draw and drove down the field with Emily Barbieri finishing the play with MU's 10th goal of the game for a 10-2 lead with 28:50 to play.
Just over three minutes later, a 3-on-1 fastbreak by the Hawks led to an 11-2 lead on Campasano's third goal of the game followed by Erica Abendschoen's tally with 24:58 remaining for a 12-2 MU advantage.
Facing a 10-goal deficit, Larrimore drove in front of the net past three defenders and finished to cut MU's lead to 12-3.
Donohoe came up with two huge saves on a free position attempt by Diaz and another shot by Larrimore from point blank range to keep the score at 12-3. The Mount remained down nine until Diaz converted her next free position, sending it to the upper lefthand corner to bring the Mount to within eight goals at 12-4 with 12:21 to play.
Mary MacAdam helped the Mount on the comeback trail with a free position goal of her own to the righthand side for a 12-5 deficit. On the other end, Leder turned away Stathius' free position attempt with 9:46 to go to keep her team in the game.
On the Mount's next possession, Mackenzie Moore took the ball from the midfield, driving all the way behind the cage and found Allie Fife driving for the team's sixth goal of the game with just over nine minutes left. For Moore, it was the first assist of her collegiate career.
With 6:26 on the clock, Bridget McGann picked up a ground ball off Larrimore's free position attempt and scored for the third time in four games to trim MU's lead to 12-7.
Three and a half minutes later, Larrimore carried the ball across the face of the goal and fired high for her second goal to put the score at 12-8. The Mount's final goal of the game came courtesy of Gutcher's free position shot with 1:25 to play.
In the Mount's final offensive push, Larrimore hit the post on a free position with 1:06 remaining, and the Mount would not fire a shot the rest of the game as the comeback fell three goals short.
Monmouth outshot the Mount, 25-22, for the game. The Mount secured seven of the possible 12 draws in the second half and the teams were tied with 13 turnovers apiece.
NOTES: Kaitlyn Larrimore and Sarah Jane Leder were honored as All-Tournament selections for their play on Friday... The Mount was competing in the NEC Tournament for the 11th-consecutive season and 15th time overall.